I Kissed a Girl

(Part 3 from 8)

Jodie picked up the last of the wrappers from the ground and threw it away. She didn't quite understand why she was so excited about Karen's coming over. She'd cleaned up, she'd bought champagne. She was wearing a casual sleeveless, floral button-front dress. Okay, so I'm sort of drawn to her, she admitted to herself. It wasn't a sexual thing, though, was it? Clearly, Karen had a way with women...and she seemed to read Jodie pretty well. That was it, right?

The doorbell rang just then, interrupting her thoughts. Jodie went to open it, saying, "Hi, come on in."

Today Karen was dressed casual, just a pair of boot cut jeans and a white cotton shirt. Somehow she looked radiant even in that, and Jodie couldn't help staring for a second. "Hey," said Karen, entering. "Nice apartment."

"Well, I *do* clean up good," said Jodie, grinning.

"Yeah, I guess you could say that," said Karen, unable to keep herself from eyeing her. Oh my God, am I flirting? she chided herself. Stop, stop, stop.

There was a pause. Then Jodie noticed Karen was holding something. "Hey, what's that?"

"Oh, this," she said. "I thought I'd bring something. I got apple pie."

"Oh, how sweet," purred Jodie, taking the dish. "I gotta tell you. I LOVE good food. There is only one religion worth following, and that is good food. My life is a tragic irony, though, because I can't cook. Period."


"I burn omelette."

Karen started laughing. "Should I be scared about dinner? Are you serving Beef Catastrophe?"

"Sadly for you, not tonight," said Jodie, taking a spoonful of the apple pie. "Mmmm, mmmm, good. This is delicious."


"Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm," said Jodie, mouth full. "Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, mmmm."

"Okay, you don't need to orgasm over it, it's just food," Karen jibed. Jodie gave her a thumbs-up sign, mouth too full to retort.

"Okay, okay," said Jodie, finally able to speak. She got up to get something and gave it to Karen. "I got you something too. I made you a CD. Queercore. Some of the best lesbian rock bands out there."

"Thanks," said Karen, pleasantly surprised.

Jodie got up, saying, "Let's show you my pride and joy." She led her to the sitting room, where up against the wall was a huge surround-sound home-theater system.

"Wow, that's impressive," said Karen.

"Yeah, I know," said Jodie, popping in a CD. "Check out this song. It's called 'Chotee' by Bif Naked." The room was filled with thrilling guitar riffs and a sexy female voice. "Does this rock or what? It's about a woman who had to give up a baby for adoption after her boyfriend left her. 'Chotee' is Hindi for 'Little One'."

"Yeah, it's pretty good," agreed Karen.

"Good? It's not just *good*, it's *divine*. I can't believe you never heard this."

"I blame West Virginia," laughed Karen.

Jodie turned down the music, and brought out the champagne. She poured two drinks and sat on the couch. "Hey, can I ask you something?" she said, offering Karen a drink.


"How did you know?"

"How did I know what?"

"That you liked girls?"

Karen smiled, like she was used to getting that question. "I just knew. I had a crush on a girl at the age of 14. Of course, being from an orthodox religious background, I refused to let myself believe it. But you feel what you feel, you know? All she had to do was touch me or get too close, and I'd feel like I was on a roller coaster ride. I thought it was just the hormones, but it kept happening. I kept getting too attached to my female friends. I tried going out with guys, and I never had much fun. By this time I was constantly fantasizing about making love to a woman. As soon as I got into NYU, well, I was through with religion and society. I wanted to do what I wanted to do." She paused, looking wistful. "The rest, as they say, is history."

"I admire that," said Jodie sincerely. "It takes guts."


"To be honest, I *have* wondered what it's like to sleep with a woman, but I could never picture it. How many women have you fucked?"

Karen seemed a little taken aback. "I don't fuck."

"You don't have sex?"

"No, I don't fuck. I was through with fucking the day I was through with men."

Jodie looked confused. Karen explained, "Fucking is having sex when there's little or no emotion involved. It's crude and it's animal. I'm not any of those things."

"Oh, I see," said Jodie, mildly insulted. "So now you're making moral judgments. Tell me...is that something you've picked up from your hometown?"

Karen laughed and sat down next to her on the couch. "I'm not making moral judgments. I'm expressing an opinion. You're not the only one who has strong opinions, you know."

"Fine, fine, fine. How many women have you *made love* to?" Jodie rolled her eyes as she said "made love".

Karen scrunched up her nose and furrowed her brow. "I've been with a couple of women in college, and one more during grad school. She was my last girlfriend."

"That's it?"

"That's it."


"Yeah, doesn't fit the stereotype the media would have you believe about gays...like we're all a bunch of sex-starved freaks."

"I never thought that," Jodie answered. "Listen, I've read your articles. On gay rights, liberalism, the fallout on the Third World due to capitalism. It's hard-hitting journalism. It moved me. Like music."

"Thanks," said Karen, looking at her. "That means a lot to me." They stared at each other for a minute. It took every ounce of Karen's willpower to keep her from leaning in and kissing Jodie. Instead she looked away and caught sight of a stuffed pink bear. "What's that?" she gestured.

"Oh, that's Teddy," said Jodie, reaching for it. "It's my childhood stuffed toy."

Karen smirked. "You know, for the badass image you're going for, that is the most ridiculous thing ever."

"Hey, I'm very sensitive about Teddy," laughed Jodie. "It got me through some really tough times."

"Do you have teddy-bear pajamas as well?" Karen teased, grabbing the toy. "And what's *with* this bear? It's practically falling to pieces!"

"Okay, okay, it's one of my eccentricities. Leave me alone!" Jodie said, almost childlike, reaching for the bear, while Karen held it out of her reach. Before she knew it, they were laughing and fighting on the couch. On an impulse she gave Karen a quick kiss on the cheek. For a second, they were locked in that position -- Karen holding the stuffed toy, leaning back against the couch, with Jodie pinning down her arms. Karen couldn't stop herself. She leaned in, and kissed her full on the lips briefly. The kiss was soft and gentle. Jodie didn't return the kiss, but she didn't break it either.

When Karen pulled back, she faced Jodie. She looked like she was in a trance, eyes glazed over, breathing faster. Karen decided to go for it. She leaned in again, this time, slowly parting her lips with her tongue, and exploring Jodie's mouth with it. Depeche Mode's "Dream On" played in the background. It was the wrong song.

Feel the fever coming
You're shaking and twitching

You can scratch all over
But that won't stop you itching

Can you feel a little love
Can you feel a little love

Dream on, dream on

"Wait, wait, stop, stop," said Jodie, suddenly pulling away, as if she'd just gotten an electric shock. "I don't know how to do this...stop."

"What's wrong?" asked Karen, breathing heavily.

"What's wrong?" Jodie almost started yelling. "One second we're just messing around, and the next you're racing the Indy 500 -- in my mouth!"

If the situation wasn't so tense, Karen would've probably smiled at that. "But you didn't stop me," she said quietly.

"But I'm straight," yelled Jodie. "I don't like making out with women!"

"Well, you could've fooled me," said Karen, throwing up her hands.

"This is not supposed to happen!"

"You know, I think maybe I should leave," said Karen, standing up.

"Maybe you should."

Karen headed for the door. Jodie didn't follow her. She let herself out.


"Something wrong?"

Jodie looked up from her computer, cigarette in hand. Wayne had brought her a cup of coffee.

"Thanks," she said, taking it. "No, nothing's wrong, why?"

"You seem uncharacteristically quiet," he said. "You know, no rants this morning, no earphones, and worst of all, no rude comment on my tie yet."

Jodie laughed. Wayne could be annoying, but he was a nice guy at heart. "Well, I don't know. Maybe I'm growing out of it."

"That's a tragedy," he said. "It was entertaining." He paused. "We got a call from Ms. Smith again. Her company wants her to come in and oversee the progress of the project. She'll be here in a few hours. Is that okay?"

"What?" Jodie panicked. She hadn't talked to Karen for a couple of days since their romantic overture. "Listen, Wayne, can you delay it? I mean, I need to put together a presentation. That type of thing is impossible to do in a few hours."

"But you've done it ten times before!" he argued.

"Yeah, but this time, we're really not ready!"

"I already said yes," he said. "Will you relax? I have faith in you. I'm sure you can manage."

Yeah, thought Jodie. Sure, I'll manage. Oh, by the way, this woman kissed me two days ago.

Three hours later, Jodie found herself giving a presentation to Karen in the conference room. Alone. Much to her chagrin, everyone else was busy, so Wayne told her to go ahead without them. The two of them remained cool and distant. Jodie kept the conversation strictly about professional topics. At the end of the presentation, she asked, "Do you have any questions?"

Karen said, "No, everything seems okay."


"Good," echoed Karen.

"Well..." Jodie didn't know what to say next.

Karen stood up, about to leave. Then, as if an afterthought had occurred to her, she looked straight at Jodie, who avoided her gaze, and said, "Listen, I think we should talk about what happened."

"Why? There's nothing to talk about." Jodie was defiant.

"Why'd you freak out like you did?" asked Karen.

"Because I'm straight!"


"So, I'm just sick of going through this!"

"Going through what?" Now Karen got wide-eyed. "This has happened before?" Realization dawned on her. "You're gay!"

"No, I'm not." Jodie said it quietly, almost to herself.

"Yes! You've been kissed by a girl before! You liked it! But you have some irrational internalized homophobia!"

"Thanks for that two-bit, over-the-counter psychoanalysis of me," Jodie snapped. "But you are way off!"

"I'm spot on, and you know it!" Karen wasn't going to shut up. "Look at you. You're getting defensive."

"I'm NOT!" Jodie was starting to get disconcerted.

Karen sneered at her, getting angry now. "Yeah, uh-huh. How many men have you fucked? Ten? Fifteen? Did you find it incredibly hard to have an orgasm?" When Jodie didn't look at her, she had her answer. "Are you insane? Will you keep living like this, completely in denial?"

"I am NOT in denial!" A sweat was breaking out on Jodie's forehead, and her heartbeat raced.

"You *just* made a huge Freudian slip. You despise homophobes with a vengeance. You own every lesbian band's CD out there. You've stopped dating men. Who exactly do you think you're kidding?"

"Who do you think you are? You don't even know me! What right do you think you have to barge into my life and tell me how to live it?" yelled Jodie.

Karen was unfazed. "You want me. You KNOW you do."

"I do NOT!" Jodie looked like she was about to scream.

"Right, right, I get it. You don't want me *this* way." Karen shook her head, and took out a CD from her bag. "Here. The CD you made for me. Take it." Her disbelief changed to sarcasm. "Let music 'create' you." She put it in Jodie's Discman, shoved the earphones somewhat angrily in her ears, and hit the play button. Then she walked out, leaving Jodie alone in the conference room listening to Team Dresch's "She's Crushing My Mind".

What I should have been was way too possible, it's fucked up
To think like this, and I'm waiting for her thoughts to kill me
Only she's not having, a thought past thinking about why

She was born this way
She was born this...

Pa-pa-para-pa-pa-para, this way
Pa-pa-para-pa-pa-para, this way
She wants to, forget it
She wants to, forget it

Trying not to forget, her face before remembering anyway
It's the kind of structure that breaks, with everyone still on the ground
You don't want to let it hit you full force, nothing left to guard
You don't want to let me know
You never wanted me this...

Pa-pa-para-pa-pa-para, this way
Pa-pa-para-pa-pa-para, this way

You never wanted me, anyway

She wants to, forget it
She wants to, forget it
She wants to, forget it
She wants to, forget it

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